Apprentice scheme pays off

Apprentices at the Hartlepool Power Station
Apprentices at the Hartlepool Power Station

A NEW generation of power station engineers are being created in Hartlepool thanks to a popular apprentice scheme.

Places for EDF’s Engineering Maintenance Apprenticeship scheme at Hartlepool Power Station are fiercly contested with hundreds of people applying for only a handful of places available.

It is hardly surprising given parts of Hartlepool have some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the country.

Recruiting for six prized places available on the four-year programme is currently underway.

Nicola Spindloe, the station’s apprentice co-ordinator, said: “Hartlepool has always been the strongest out of the fleet for applications because these opportunities don’t come around very often in our area.

“We are taking the people who do well in their testing and have a passion for our industry.

“At the end of it, they will hopefully get full time well-paid employment.”

Apprentices based at the power station on Tees Road told the Mail of the benefits to the scheme, describing it as “second to none”.

Daniel Kidson, from Seaton Carew, is in his third year on the scheme and is training as an electrical engineer.

He and fellow apprentice, David Reay, from Billingham, both decided against going to university as they felt the apprenticeship programme gave them the best chance of landing a job.

Daniel, 20, said: “After my A-levels I looked at what people who had gone to university had achieved and they are struggling to find a job.

“An apprenticeship offered education and the possibility of a job afterwards so it seemed the best option.”

He added: “This is the best scheme you can get on, I would recommend it to anyone.

“You are working with people who have been on site for years and you just soak knowledge up from them like a sponge.”

David, 21, in his final year of the scheme, added: “The qualifications you can get on this scheme are second to none. You get to do a Higher National Certificate, you learn life skills, get to learn from the best and get exceptional support.”

For the first two years of the programme apprentices are based at HMS Sultan naval base in Portsmouth where they learn the theory, get to know each other and develop as people.

The final two years are based learning the job hands-on at their local EDF power station.

After a final interview they hope to hear the words “you’re hired”.

The deadline for applications for next year’s intake is Wednesday, January 16, through the website